Marquette University
Press Release

Marquette Law School, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to host one-day conference on political polarization

Marquette University Law School and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will host a one-day conference titled “Dividing Lines: Political Polarization and What it Means for Campaigns, Public Policy, and Political Engagement.”

By - May 6th, 2014 11:22 am

MILWAUKEE – Marquette University Law School and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will host a one-day conference titled “Dividing Lines: Political Polarization and What it Means for Campaigns, Public Policy, and Political Engagement,” on Thursday, May 15, at Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.

Last fall, Journal Sentinel Washington Bureau Chief Craig Gilbert began a six-month Lubar Fellowship at Marquette Law School. Working closely with Professor Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School poll, Gilbert conducted an exhaustive study of voting trends in metropolitan Milwaukee.

His conclusion: The region is now “one of America’s most polarized places,” and is illustrative of several national trends.

“Metro Milwaukee is a microcosm of the hardening of partisan lines across the country — the decline of ticket splitting, the sorting of places into red and blue enclaves and the two parties’ reliance on increasingly divergent demographic and geographic bases,” Gilbert said.

The conference will explore the implications of these dividing lines in southeast Wisconsin and nationally. What do they mean for campaigns, public policy and political engagement?

Conference panels will include nationally recognized academics who have examined the polarization issue, political strategists and elected officials, including Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly and Assembly Majority Leader Pat Strachota.

Seating is limited; registration is available online.

Through the Marquette Law School Poll, debates featuring candidates in significant political races, public lectures by leading scholars and topical conferences — all open to the community — the Law School serves as a venue for serious civil discourse about law and public policy matters.

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